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Going nowhere fast?
Maybe it's time for a change
10/19/07 - By Paul Krill

What do we get when we put stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the prime of their careers, sniper Jonathan Cheechoo and flashy Milan Michalek all on the same team? We'll even throw in goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, with the hottest glove hand in the league. In San Jose, this mixture apparently produces a scoring-challenged, sub-.500 squad.

This team appears headed nowhere fast seven games into the season. Maybe that's kind of early, but this is a team that has been picked as a potential Stanley Cup winner and all we're seeing is an uneven team that needed 59+ minutes to score in its home opener only to lose the game 20 seconds later.

As of October 19, the Sharks and the New Jersey Devils were the only teams with no points at all in their home building. But at least the Devils have the excuse that they haven't even played any home games while awaiting the finishing touches on their new arena. What's the Sharks' excuse?

Since the Sharks can't dispatch all the players, it may not be surprising if the coaching staff were sent packing in short order. If this team is not near the top of the conference by Thanksgiving, we might see a coaching change. Maybe even sooner than that.

Now that Stanley Cup-winning coach Bob Hartley (Colorado, 2001) is available, he could give the Sharks a strong alternative if a decision is made to make a change.

Of course, this can't all be blamed on the coaches. It's the players who play the games. Except for a couple of periods against Vancouver, the Sharks' performances have left us wanting.

We saw the Sharks pummeled in Colorado a few weeks ago by the Avalanche, who added one-time Sharks' defensive stalwart Scott Hannan to their roster. The free agent the Sharks brought in to replace Hannan - somebody we would identify as nobody at all - has been less than stellar. (Yes, we signed Craig Rivet, but he was already here last season.)

So here we go again with another slow start. Will it end the same way it usually does - with an early playoff collapse? We'll have to wait six months to find out.

For me, however, there has been a bright side to this, particularly last night. Let me explain.

These days, other obligations mean I can't get to as many Sharks games as I once did. But often, my car will be parked in the CalTrain parking lot about 50 yards from the arena on game nights. So when I get off the train, I see the well-lit rink and know that the Sharks and eager fans are inside with the puck about to drop while I have to head home. That was the case on Thursday night.

But the Sharks' laying another egg against the Red Wings certainly took the sting out of my predicament. Not that I want the team to lose these games, but at least they don't cost me any money.

It'll be up to the Sharks to make me grind my teeth more wishing I was at these games or let me take more solace in saving money on losing efforts.

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